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The Books You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry

A wonderful book that was a long-time coming! Written by a well-known British psychotherapist, it’s a to-the-point parenting guide about how your relationship with your child sets them up for future relationships. This can surmount to huge pressure in getting the relationship right but with the madness and unpredictability of life how do you ensure that these relationships don’t go wrong?

Strong, loving bonds are key to building secure attachments with your children that give them the best chance to positive mental health that will serve them for life.

She alerts us to how our upbringing influences our own parenting style and how to rectify it, even if it wasn’t the most ideal. How validating our children’s feelings rather than batting them down or introducing distraction is one of the best ways to raise their self-esteem and allow them to feel understood and heard. Best of all, she shows us to forgive ourselves for the parenting mistakes we make and how these too can be resolved.

A refreshingly reassuring and eye-opening book, that makes you feel confident about being a parent, no matter what your upbringing or experiences.


The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl

From the happiest country in this world, comes this strikingly honest, authentic and comforting book on parenting. With to-the-point anecdotes and lessons, Danish parenting teaches us that the goal of parenting is to teach children emotional honesty not perfection — to practise empathy and be role model parents who make empathy a practice. Children mirror the behaviour of their caregivers, often adopting these for life. The Danes also coach their children to skillfully manage and overcome stress rather than avoiding it. This sort of resilience-building coupled with effectively regulating emotions means that your children are set for life. The book also drives home the importance of community and togetherness. After all life’s not about money, social status or a job title — it’s about connection, character and how we treat other human beings.


What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break The Silence by Michele Filgate

Hotly anticipated, this dynamic book explores what we don’t discuss within our most intimate of relationships — the relationship with our mother.

Michele Filgate, whilst still an undergraduate at university, began an essay about her stepfather’s abuse but only finished it a decade later — needing the time to work out what she actually wanted to talk about — the effect of the abuse on the relationship with her mother. Upon publication it went viral and was shared by notable authors including Rebecca Solnit. There was a clear need for this type of conversation to be had — and the appetite of writers to share their stories was not exactly limited. An anthology was born showcasing a collection of essays and stories that looked at a starkly exposed view of our relationships with our mothers.

A portrayal of both super close and irreparably estranged relationships with our mothers, André Aciman writes about having a deaf mother, whilst Cathi Hanauer talks about trying to have a conversation with her mother in the presence of her dominating and controlling father. Then there are the mothers on the opposite end of the spectrum — ones who need to share everything with their daughters to the ones to those that are seemingly perfect.

Beautifully written Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” Our relationships with our mothers are often the relationships that we replicate with others, particularly close ones and in working this relationship out do we work out the other ones, bringing hope, relief and healing.

Contributors include Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison




A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

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